Staghorn sumac

August 25, 2015

Rhus typhina L.

Life cycle

Colony-forming shrub to small tree.


Alternate, pinnately compound with nine to 31 leaflets approaching 24 inches long. Leaflets are lance-shaped to narrowly oblong with a pointed tip, 2 to 5 inches long with coarsely toothed margins. Leaflet veins and leaf petioles are densely hairy. Leaflets are deep green above and dull green below and turn bright red in the fall.

staghorn sumac leaf
Staghorn sumac leaf.


Shrub to small tree. Young stems and petioles are covered with soft, fuzzy hairs. 

staghorn sumac stem
Young, fuzzy stems and petioles of staghorn sumac.

Flowers and fruit

Green to yellow flowers form in long, terminal, pyramid-shaped clusters. Red, fuzzy, berrylike fruit form in upright, persistent, cone-shaped clusters.

staghorn flower staghorn sumac foliage & fruit
Staghorn sumac flower cluster (left), and foliage and fruit (right).


Seeds and rhizomes.

Similar weeds

Dwarf sumac (R. copallina L.) Differs by having smooth leaflet margins, raised red dots on stems and distinctly winged leaf stems.

Smooth sumac (R. glabra L.) Differs by having hairless stems and petioles and more open fruit clusters. May hybridize with staghorn sumac.

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